Labor has today sought to establish a Senate inquiry into the Government’s paper procurement policies, including the impact of Government procurement on securing manufacturing investment and jobs in the paper industry.
The motion to refer these matters to an inquiry was co-sponsored by Senators Carr, Madigan, Muir, Rice and Xenophon.
The Senate inquiry will provide an opportunity to hear directly from the industry, particularly in relation to the ICT Sustainability Plan, which expired at the end of June 2015.
The ICT Sustainability Plan was implemented by Labor in 2010 and required 100 per cent of government-purchase general use office paper to be made from recycled content by 1 July 2015.
In response, Australian Paper invested in a $90 million de-inking and recycling plant at its paper mill at Maryvale in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley, which supports 1000 jobs in the region.
This crucially important manufacturing project received $9.5 million from the Federal Government, with further assistance from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Victorian Government.
Despite the investment, under the Abbott/Turnbull Government the ICT Sustainability Plan was not renewed and the Commission of Audit recommended its abolition.
Australian Paper is the biggest private employer in the Latrobe Valley and the Abbott/Turnbull Government’s refusal to renew the ICT Sustainability Plan risks the jobs of workers directly employed at facility, with a further 6000 flow-on jobs at risk throughout the supply chain.
The inquiry will call for submissions, hold public hearings and report in June 2016.
Labor encourages stakeholders to contribute their experience and expertise to assist the Committee with its deliberations and recommendations to the Parliament.